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Polish Psychological Bulletin

The Journal of Committee for Psychological Sciences of Polish Academy of Sciences

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Volume 42, Issue 1 (Jan 2011)


Motherland under attack! Nationalism, terrorist threat, and support for the restriction of civil liberties

Maciej Sekerdej
  • Institute of Psychology, Jagiellonian University, ul. Mickiewicza 3, 31-120 Krakow, Poland
/ Małgorzata Kossowska
  • Institute of Psychology, Jagiellonian University, ul. Mickiewicza 3, 31-120 Krakow, Poland
Published Online: 2011-12-19 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/v10059-011-0003-0

Motherland under attack! Nationalism, terrorist threat, and support for the restriction of civil liberties

The paper addresses the role which national attitudes play in terrorist threat perception and in the choice of specific counterterrorism strategies. Study 1 shows that participants higher on nationalism tend to perceive the threat of terrorism as more serious than participants lower on nationalism. Moreover, we found that nationalism mediated the relationship between the perceived terrorist threat and the support for tough domestic policies, even at the expense of considerable limitation of civil liberties. Study 2 confirms the link between the perceived terrorism threat and the support for suspension of civil liberties. Nevertheless, when terrorism was seen in terms of crime rather than in terms of war, the mediating role of nationalism disappeared. The results contribute to a better understanding of the process whereby the perception of one's own national group and the perception of one's own nation-state translate into specific reactions triggered by external threats.

Keywords: national attitudes; terrorist threat; restrictions of civil liberties; perception of terrorism as war; perception of terrorism as crime

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About the article

Published Online: 2011-12-19

Published in Print: 2011-01-01

Citation Information: Polish Psychological Bulletin, ISSN (Print) 0079-2993, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/v10059-011-0003-0. Export Citation

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